unraveling

There’s a snag in my sweater – you know, one of those loops that used to be part of the fabric of the sweater, but that has now become a limp loop of yarn getting bigger and bigger as the day goes on.

When I was a child, my first instinct upon seeing one of these pulls or snags was to look for a pair of scissors to cut it off and get it out of my way. Fortunately for me, I had a very vigilant mother, the rescuer of sweaters-threatened-with-scissors-in-the-hands-of-a-kid.

Because, you know what happens to a snag that has been cut off, right? It ravels. It becomes a tiny hole – naturally, part of the yarn has been cut away. And then, in almost no time, the tiny hole ravels some more and becomes a really big hole. Before you know it, your favorite sweater is tossed in the garbage – irreparable, useless for anything, even a dust rag.

Last week I felt like there was a snag in the sweater of my life. It started small, but my fingers would find it and worry it, making it larger until it was big enough to catch on things as I passed. It was getting close to the knotting stage and I was looking for a way to cut it away.

My snag, the one that threatened to ravel into a hole, was missing my son who is away at boot camp. I was becoming desperate for news of him. I was imagining reasons a letter was not coming. I was close to unravelling and it was not a good feeling at all.

The only good thing that was happening is that I was praying, no, begging is a better way to describe my conversations with God. I was begging him to keep my boy safe and to put a letter in my mailbox. I wanted to feel better and I wanted the unraveling to go away.

So, yes, I was praying which is good, but one afternoon when the mailbox was again empty, I was just about ready to email my son’s drill instructor – an unwise move which would be equal to taking the scissors to a snag on a sweater.

Back to my mom for a moment – she always knew what to do with a snagged sweater. If the snag had not been pulled out too far, she could work the stray yarn back into the fabric by gently pulling and tugging it. Good as new. However, even if the loop had been pulled enough to tighten the yarn into a knot, there was still hope.

Very patiently, she would work the pulled yarn back to the inside of the sweater. If the knit was finer than a bulky sweater, she would use what I thought was a special tool for fixing snags. It was really just a needle threader. She would poke the threader through the knit, grab the loop and pull it back through to the inside and knot it so that it would stay put. The result was almost perfect – hard to be seen unless you knew it was there.

Mom’s patience and her secret weapon – the needle threader – kept the sweater from unraveling.

On that night when I wanted to cut off my “snag”, God was patiently preparing to use his secret weapon (His Word) on it instead.

I had been studying Philippians all summer and God brought to my mind Philippians 2:3.

Philippians 23

Wow! In case you didn’t notice that was the needle threader piercing the fabric of the sweater, and did I ever feel it! I had been thinking that I should have received at least one letter for the fifteen I had written. Didn’t that boy understand that he was worrying his mother crazy?

It was all about me.

I was not considering that he needed those letters far more than I needed one from him – that my job was to support him, that it was not time for him to cater to my needs, but for me to do all that I could to help him concentrate on getting through boot camp.

And so, my prayer changed. A letter would still be nice, but I told God that I didn’t need one, I just needed Him to do whatever was necessary in my son’s life.

The next morning, a friend shared this verse on Facebook:

1 Corinthians 417

That verse was God pulling the snag to the inside of the sweater. It was reminding me that God has a plan in everything that happens. There’s no point in fighting against it. Let it be – stop trying to fix the snag the wrong way.

And the next day? The next afternoon when I got home from work, there was a letter – a two page letter that told us that all was well – no need to worry.

And that was God knotting the snag so that it couldn’t pull through again.

Do you have snags that your fingers are worrying and making bigger? Is the snag on the verge of unraveling? Can you trust God with it? Can you wait on Him and let Him pull the snag back through and knot it so that it won’t worry you anymore?